Hej from Denmark! We've enjoyed an ace weekend in Denmark's capital, with a day trip to neighbouring Malmö in Sweden sandwiched in between.
If you've never been, here are a few things you need to know about Scandinavia:
- EVERYONE rides a bike: I mean literally everybody. Step into a cycle lane only if you have no regard for your personal safety.
- And on the topic of pavements, the green man is king: The definition of jay-walking is "crossing a road unlawfully or without regard for approaching traffic" and this makes us Brits truly badass. Want to know how to spot a British person in Scandinavia? We'll be that one person walking across a deserted road without waiting for the signal like an absolute lunatic.
- The tea is truly awful: In search of a decent cup of English Breakfast tea, we've had everything from fruity black to Assam. How do you fancy an Earl Grey with hot milk (twice)? Yep, it was as tragic as it sounds.
They do however have amazing DIY porridge courtesy of Grød, everything is super neat, tidy and clean, the architecture is stunning and the people are incredibly friendly.
Now, we're two weeks into these blogs so let's be honest with each other: I know that you don't actually care about my training. Honestly it's fine. Realistically, there's always going to be someone who does more/faster/better training than you, and someone who does less training than you, so I think it's important to focus on yourself and not compare what you do with anyone else. We all do what we can in the differing amounts of time we have to train.
That's why I don't use Strava and why I deliberately don't talk about distances, times, paces etc in these blogs because neither of us are bothered about whether my 6 mile recovery run was at 7:47 pace or 8:11, or whether I turned left or right out of my front door. And if I did there'd be no room for my bad jokes, exaggeration and sweeping statements.
Anyway, there's only two weeks left until the London Marathon and 10 weeks until we take on the Lakesman Ironman triathlon in the beautiful Lake District. I like front-loading my training weeks to get all the graft out of the way early. Obviously I know you couldn't care less, but as Mondays & Tuesdays are fairly uneventful socially, I try to make those my big training days.
I find mentally it gives me a boost knowing I've broken the back of the week's training and I can enjoy my weekends more and be flexible, rather than having a long run/ride looming all week. It does mean our alarm goes off at 5:30am every weekday, but I've never regretted getting up early for a run or ride - although our neighbours in the flat below literally hate us :-)
I managed to get some decent training in by Thursday morning (yes I know you don't care), then had a massage that evening with the Butcher of Pimlico. Every time I go to Vauxhall I'm in awe of the MI6 building. I read all the James Bond novels when I was a kid, so I still find myself trying to spot M or Q in the windows!
I had a go at putting together some kind of plan for the next 10 weeks to at least get me thinking about swimming. Shepperton Lake where I swim opens in mid-May, on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays, so I've worked out I can do nine swims between now and the Ironman, So still no actual swimming, but at least I'm thinking about it. Progress!
Just one ride this week due to travel. I got out before work on Tuesday with four laps of Richmond Park. My legs felt completely dead before I even got to the park, but I ploughed on regardless in the rain and the satisfaction of climbing Sawyer's Hill for the fourth time was immense!
Spring is here! And it actually makes me sad as I love running in leggings and hats. Mainly because I have no hair and putting suncream on your head is depressing. But it was actually a pretty good week of running. All easy-paced still, but I feel as though I'm starting to move more fluidly as I get used to the new insoles, and any week that goes by without any new niggles or injuries is definitely another positive step.
Spending a weekend in Copenhagen meant the opportunity for some international parkrun tourism. There are seven parkruns in Denmark, and lots of people might not realise that it was the first country outside of the UK to welcome parkrun properly.
We were tempted by the chance to go to the inaugural Malmo parkrun in Sweden, but opted for the lie-in and nearby event instead. Actually, I should clarify that this was actually because our hotel breakfast was only served until 10am and a boy has got to eat.
Coralie hit the treadmill and as I fancied a longer run, I opted for Amager Fælled parkrun and ran there and back along the river/canal/water (not sure what it was exactly but it was pretty nice).
The parkrun experience itself was very unique! Now one of the first rules of parkrun, along with not forgetting your barcode, is not to be late! So I arrived in the park at 8:30am and the only other people there were also Brits.
I assumed this was because we'd obviously all jay-walked our way there like mavericks, saving ourselves literally seconds by taking our lives in our own hands, but it all became clear at 8:50am. Whilst we were all awkwardly looking at each other extremely confident we were in the wrong place facing a parkrun-less weekend, suddenly dozens of cyclists of all ages emerged from all angles. It was actually really cool to see, and very Danish!
The parkrun course was a nice two-lapper around a common, although it was ridiculously windy and freezing. Everyone was really welcoming, it was nice and flat, and I got back to the hotel in time to smuggle food from the breakfast buffet in a napkin under my jumper like a true Brit.
Having safely navigated my way round, I took myself into the 40s on my quest for the coveted red 50 parkrun milestone t-shirt, and it took my parkrun streak to eight, which given my injury record over the past 18 months is truly remarkable!
Now, I've worked out if I parkrun every week, I can hit the big 50 the day before the Lakesman, which would be an epic weekend. But I'd be keen to know what other people normally do the day before Ironman - do you rest up? Go for a shakeout run? Quick swim? Or curl up in a ball and cry like a nervous wreck? Please do let me know!
I then got up on Sunday for another good longer run. I headed out early, and most the people I passed were on their way home with beers in hand! There were also two strip clubs that were clearing out the stragglers as I ran past, which given it was 7:00am one can only assume meant they had a very expensive night.
It really is a beautiful city to run around as it's lovely and flat, wide pavements and lots of waterside paths. Coralie and I then hired bikes for the day and cruised around like true Danes, which was a great way to round off the weekend break
The reason for this trip is because this coming Tuesday I celebrate/mourn my 30th birthday, so I'll basically have one foot in the grave.
I plan to celebrate by viewing retirement homes, collecting my bus pass, reminiscing about the 1980s, complaining about how the youngsters these days don't realise how lucky they've got it, and exacerbating at how they waste all their money on expensive coffees and avocados.
I'm heading back home to Suffolk on Thursday for the weekend, so I'll see you next week for my London Marathon preview! Tom.